It’s Conservation Week from the 14th – 22nd of October. You can get involved by protecting the native species in your neighborhood with a backyard trap.
Here at DOC we’ve been trapping rats and mice for quite a while, so we know a thing or two about how to catch them. Here are our top tips for backyard trapping.
1. Choose the best bait
This is a widely disputed issue, with some trappers swearing by good old peanut butter, while others buy rodent bait from specialist retailers.
Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington have put the different baits to the test, and found that stock-standard peanut butter might not always be the best bet. They found wild rats prefer cheese, milk chocolate, Nutella and walnuts to your standard peanut butter.
2. Offer some ‘Free’ bait
Put a bit of ‘free’ peanut butter in the tunnel (the wooden box that you put your traps inside) in front of the trap – this encourages the rats and mice in. It helps attract more rodents too, as they’ll return to their nest with the first haul of peanut butter, and then bring their family back to the trap for more.
3. Put your trap in a prime location
It might be tempting to put your trap smack bang into the middle of your garden, where surely the most rats and mice will be scurrying. This isn’t necessarily the most effective position though, as rodents tend to avoid big open spaces.
Rats and mice prefer to run close to walls, plants and fences where they’re hidden from keen cat eyes. So the best place for your backyard trap is beside a wall or fence where the rats might be running.
4. And if the first location fails, try again
If you don’t have a wall/fence to put your trap beside, or you’re not catching much, think about where in your garden the rats and mice might be hanging out.
Rodents will be attracted to places where they can find food and water. If you have a compost heap or trees that drop fruit on the ground your resident rats will probably be spending some time there, so that’s a good spot for your trap. Another good place is beside a waterway if you have one as rats and mice tend to run alongside streams and creeks.
5. Get your neighbours involved
If you reach a trapping plateau and stop catching as many rats and mice as you used to, it could be because they’ve cottoned on to that fact that your yard isn’t safe. They could be seeking sanctuary in properties nearby instead, so getting your neighbours involved in trapping will help ensure your entire neighbourhood is protected.
Then, next time you reach a plateau it may well be because you’ve caught the lot!
It’s Conservation Week from the 14th – 22nd of October. Get involved by protecting, growing, nurturing and caring for our nature.
Please note that it is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to use any inhumane methods to dispatch of predators. Approved methods for dispatching of predators using kill traps are outlined in our PF2050 trapping guide. All of these traps have been approved by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and comply with The Animal Welfare Act 1999.